Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is one of my favorite Christmas movies. One of the most heartfelt scenes in the movie is when the Island of Misfit Toys is visited by Santa on Christmas Eve. Charlie in the Box, the squirt gun that shoots jelly, and the rest of the misfit toys joyfully jump into Santa’s sleigh to be distributed to awaiting girls and boys on Christmas morning.
Did you know that the original script did not show Santa going back to the Island of Misfit Toys? There was a write-in campaign in 1964 because people wanted to see Santa pick up the Misfits from the island.
Why is this scene of Misfit Toys so touching?
Most of us can relate to being a “misfit” from time to time. We can sometimes feel like we have square wheels, sometimes we wonder “who wants to play with a Charlie in the Box?” We know the sting of rejection, and when we feel it often enough, or deeply enough, we can long for life on the island, where nobody gets voted off! We withdraw, and it feels safe, it feels less painful. We may even enjoy a long period of “peace” before we realize that we have only substituted the pain of rejection for the pain of isolation.
So what choice do we have? 1 Corinthians 12:14-15 & 18 states “Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”
That’s the New International Version. If there were the Island of Misfit Toys Version it might read something like this, “Because I have square wheels, I do not belong. Because I have the wrong name, I do not belong. Because I squirt jelly, I do not belong.”
Just like the Misfits, we can opt ourselves out of deep and meaningful relationships. We accept rejection instead of inviting intimacy in our marriages, but we don’t have to. I sometimes wonder why the Misfit Toys so readily jumped into the sleigh. Didn’t they know that rejection could be waiting for them at Bobby or Suzy’s home? Or, had they had enough of the pain of isolation that the pendulum naturally swung over to the other side?
I believe that there is a another option that is much healthier and happier. It is possible that the Toys realized the purpose for which they were created? They were willing to risk rejection, without guarantee of success. They opted in, with the conviction to live within the purpose of their creator. They are TOYS, designed to bring joy — and they belong!
This Christmas I am calling on the “misfit” in each of us to step out of hiding, jump into the sleigh, and live in agreement with our Creator. He has called us to belong, to offer our square wheels and odd names to others – especially our spouses. They may reject us, and probably will from time to time, but let’s opt in anyway.
Misfits, jump into the sleigh! Ho, ho, ho!